Argentina against Australia on day 3 of the INSEP Hockey Challenge
(Photo: FIH / Sandra Harik)
Penalty corner specialist Ignacio Bergner was the hero for Argentina on day three of the INSEP Hockey Challenge in Paris, scoring all 3 goals in their hard fought 3 – 2 victory over Australia.
Argentina started the match strongly and created some good scoring opportunities in the opening minutes. However, they failed to take their chances, and once the game had settled, it was Australia’s Chris Cirelllo who scored the first goal of the match from a penalty corner conversion in the 20th minute, after the South Americans had one defender ejected from the goal line due to a break.
However, Bergner answered with two rockets into the roof of the net, from penalty corners in the 27th and 29th minutes, which left Australian goalkeeper Nathan Burgers with no chance, and put his team 2 – 1 up at half time.
The match descended into a scrappy affair following the break, with both teams struggling to put together effective attacking structures. But after Bergner completed his hat trick from a PC in the 54th minute, and the hard working Matthew Butturini answered soon after in the 56th minute when he smashed home his shot from the top of the circle – the game broke open. Each side had opportunities to score in the final stages of the match, with the Australians probably having the better of the chances, only to be denied by a string of outstanding saves from Argentinian goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi, including solid stops on two penalty corner attempts from Cirello.
However, when Australia were awarded another penalty corner just before time had expired, there was still plenty of excitement to come, and the match ended in somewhat controversial circumstances. First, the Argentinians looked like they might be rightfully aggrieved when a penalty stroke was awarded to the Kookaburras, after yet another save from Vivaldi ended in a goal-line scramble. Then the Australians were left wondering what might have been, when the decision was reversed before the stroke was taken, leaving the South Americans 3 – 2 winners.
Speaking after the match, Bergner was very happy with the win. “This is an important result. We won against Australia, the current world champions. So in terms of confidence, this is very important for the Pan American Championships,” he said.
Australian Assistant Coach Graham Reid said after the game that his team had played a poor first half. “We made a lot of mistakes and the score reflected this. We were passive,” he said. “In the second half, we played better and the midfield got the ball more quickly, and we had more opportunities. We just missed at the end,” added Reid.
The Australians are have a rest day tomorrow, and Reid said that they intend to look at Paris as a team, and then prepare for the tough game they have on Saturday at 15h00 against South Korea. “We played them 3 months ago, but now it is different because we have a lot of new players,” said Reid.
Argentina will be in action again tomorrow, at 16h00 against Ireland.Fédération Française de Hockey media release